Four key questions you should ask your print provider that you may not have thought of

Where The Trade Buys provides insight into asking your print provider four key questions to help achieve the right business results.

Choosing the right print partner is vital

It doesn’t matter whether you are a print reseller, a printer with production partners, a design studio or an end user. You depend on print partners to help you achieve the right business results.  

If you have a print partner that lets you down, you are in trouble. Poor quality print or late deliveries means that people start losing confidence in your organisation. You may end up losing customers. In a worst case scenario, your job could be at risk.

That’s why it’s important to have a system for choosing the right supplier

Companies that use an organised system for choosing the right print partners are more likely to create more effective relationships with their suppliers. They have better control over their supply chain. They have a much better chance of achieving the print results that they are looking for.

Companies that do not use a system to check out their suppliers are more likely to suffer from poor quality print and late deliveries. They won’t have the same level of control over their print partners. They won’t have laid the right basis for a productive relationship. 

Often the simplest way to find out about potential new suppliers is to give them a questionnaire. This asks them about their capabilities and, most importantly, about how they perform.

Here are four questions you should ask suppliers

What are your actual on-time delivery statistics?

We are hearing more and more stories of suppliers who are not keeping to the delivery turnarounds that they are promising. This means that it is important to ask potential suppliers about how they are performing. Good print partners should be able to provide these statistics quickly and easily. 

How many production errors did you log in the last three months?

Remember, it is not just about deliveries. It is just as important to make sure that prospective production partners can print and finish to the right standards. Again, an efficient supplier should log all production issues and tell you exactly what has happened over the previous months.

How many customer complaints did you receive in the last three months?

Not all suppliers keep records of customer complaints and how they have been resolved. However, customer complaints are worth investigating. Remember, it’s not just about production. You want to make sure that you are looking at a supplier who you can work with. You might want to think seriously before starting a relationship with a supplier that has had, for instance, numerous complaints about communication. 

How do your customers rate you?

Here are a number of ways of doing this. Some companies measure their Net Promoter Score. Some run internal surveys. We focus on Trust Pilot reviews and ratings.

Here are two things you should be beware of when asking these questions

Firstly, beware of companies that claim they have 100% on-time delivery or 0% production problems. In the real production world, these scores simply don’t happen. Sooner or later a print partner is going to face a production issue. If you are looking at a busy printing company, then it would be unusual if it didn’t have a few problems along the way. 

Next, beware of companies that can’t show you their statistics. If they aren’t logging this information then you should be wondering how they monitor and maintain their production standards. 

Here are the current performance figures for Where The Trade Buys

We like to be a transparent organisation. We are also proud of the standards we achieve. So here is how we would respond if we were asked these questions:

  • On-time delivery over the last three months: 98%
  •  Production errors (highlighted internally before delivery) over the last three months: 15 out of 8,363 jobs. That’s less than 1%
  • Customer complaints over the last three months: 19
  • Rating on Trust Pilot: 9.0

Are your print partners performing as well as you would like?

If your current suppliers can’t answer these questions, or if they are simply not performing to the standards that you require, it’s time to consider changing whom you work with. If you are thinking of making a change, we’d be delighted to hear from you !

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Posted by: Where The Trade Buys

22/05/2017

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